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To swivel or not to swivel...That is the question.

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

When it comes to motorcycle trailers, one of the most debated topics is whether or not to use a swivel coupler. Some people swear by them and would refuse to tow without one, while others say they’ve never had a problem with a standard straight coupler. In this article, I’ll address the features and benefits of a swivel coupler as well as some of the myths that have surrounded them. Before we look at the benefits, let's take a look at the different kinds of motorcycle swivels.

Swivel Hitch Heim Coupler

The swivel hitch heim coupler is pictured in the first two pictures and provides excellent performance and safety when towing with a motorcycle. The swivel heim mounts into the trailer tongue and the hitch post and lock mounts in place of the ball on the motorcycle hitch. The benefit of this type of swivel is that it is lightweight, costs less, comes with a lock, and is more proprietary to motorcycle towing. You can purchase a swivel hitch heim coupler on our online store here.

Swivel Ball Coupler

The swivel ball coupler is pictured in the last two pictures and maintains the use of the 1-7/8" ball coupler. The swivel ball coupler mounts in between the tongue and a standard 1-7/8" ball coupler. The main benefit of the swivel ball coupler is that it can be hooked onto any vehicle that has a 1-7/8" ball coupler mounted for towing, making it easy to tow with both motorcycles and other small vehicles. You can purchase a swivel ball coupler on our online store here.


Now that we have compared the different types of swivels, let's take a look at the benefits of using a swivel. Both types of swivels will offer the same features and benefits listed below:


A swivel coupler is primarily a safety device that allows 360-degree rotation of the trailer while minimizing its effect on your motorcycle. A swivel will help keep your bike upright in the event that your motorcycle trailer tips on its side. This can occur during an accident, or even something as simple as cutting a corning too close and clipping a curb with your trailer.


A swivel is also designed to help limit the sideload to the motorcycle while cornering, but a myth surrounding swivels is that you can’t lean into a corner well enough with a straight coupler. If you are towing with a large touring bike, you will generally scrape your footpegs or floorboards before coming to the end of rotation on a standard straight ball coupler. If you are towing with a sport touring bike that has the capability to lean heavily into corners, a swivel coupler could increase the allowable lean angle. I would highly recommend using a swivel coupler with a sport or sport touring motorcycle. If you are towing a motorcycle trailer with a trike or car, you do not need a swivel coupler.

Tip-over Insurance

There’s nothing quite as embarrassing as dropping your bike in a parking lot, but when hooked to a trailer, the situation can be escalated from embarrassment to trip ending and costly. When a bike is hooked up to a trailer and drops to the ground, there is a risk of bending something on your trailer, bending your hitch, or possibly even bending your motorcycle subframe. Having damage to one of these items can quickly halt and ruin an enjoyable motorcycle trip.

The only real downside to a swivel coupler is that it adds additional cost to your trailer. Considering that it could save your motorcycle trip or keep you and your bike off the ground, it’s a small price to pay. Kompact Kamp sells swivel couplers for all of their trailers using a 2” x 2” tongue. Purchase a swivel coupler below or watch related videos for installation and to see them in use.

Watch these videos to learn how to add a swivel coupler to your motorcycle trailer and see the swivel in action:

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